Gunvor Hofmo

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Gunvor Hofmo (born June 30, 1921 in Oslo , † October 14, 1995 ibid) was a Norwegian writer and representative of modern Scandinavian poetry.


Gunvor Hofmo grew up in a working class family in east Oslo. Many of her relatives were arrested because of their resistance to the German occupiers ; an aunt and an uncle were murdered in the concentration camp. In 1940 she met the Austrian Jewish artist Ruth Maier on her escape from the National Socialists . The two became friends. Maier was deported to Auschwitz in 1942 and killed. These events determined Hofmo's life.

After 1945 Hofmo made numerous long trips, including to France, Denmark, England and the Netherlands. She wrote essays for the Dagbladet newspaper and published five volumes of poetry by 1955. In the work Blinde nattergaler (Blind Nightingales) , published in 1951, she shows solidarity with those who have been expelled from society, with the beggars, the uprooted and the crippled. In her lyrics she often expresses the feeling of her homelessness and her search for God. She felt a spiritual closeness to the German-speaking poets Nelly Sachs and Paul Celan .

In 1953 she suffered a nervous breakdown. After being diagnosed with schizophrenia , she received intermittent treatment for 22 years; it was not until 1975 that she was released from the psychiatric clinic in Gaustad .

After 16 years of creative hiatus, she published fifteen other poetry collections by 1994.

" Later collections of poetry [...] testify to a further deepening of religious experiences. Gunvor Hofmo's formal language was traditional at first, but developed more and more boldly and condensed into a glowing expression of her mysterious, sometimes beautiful, sometimes terrifying visions. "

- Philip Houm

Hofmo was translated very little. The Norwegian writer Jan Erik Vold published a biography in 2000. Susanna Wallumrød set some of her poems to music and presented them on her album Jeg vil hjem til menneskene .


  • 1946: Jeg vil hjem til menneskene
  • 1948: Fra en annen virkelighet
  • 1951: Blind nattergaler
  • 1954: I en våkenatt
  • 1955: Testaments til en evighet
  • 1971: Gjest på jorden
  • 1972: November
  • 1973: Veisperringer
  • 1974: Mellomspill
  • 1976: Hva fanger natten
  • 1978: Det er sent
  • 1981: Nå har hendene rørt meg
  • 1984: Gi meg til berget
  • 1986: Stjernene og barndommen
  • 1987: Nabot
  • 1989: Ord til pictures
  • 1990: Fuglen
  • 1994: epilogue



  • Mogens Brøndsted (Ed.): Nordic Literature History , Volume II, Fink, Munich 1984, ISBN 3-7705-2105-6
  • Thomas Seiler: Modernism . In: Scandinavian Literature History , Metzler, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 978-3-476-01973-8
  • Jan Erik Vold: Gunvor Hofmo . In: Norsk biografisk leksikon
  • ders .: Mørkets sangerske. En bok om Gunvor Hofmo , Gyldendal, Oslo 2000, ISBN 82-05-25419-2

Individual evidence

  1. Philip Houm: Gunvor Hofmo . In: Nordic literary history . Volume II. Fink, Munich 1984, page 623